New Zealand Parliament Pāremata Aotearoa

Te Roroa Claims Settlement Bill — In Committee

Published date: 2 Sep 2008

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Tuesday, 2 September 2008

(continued on Thursday, 4 September 2008)

Te Roroa Claims Settlement Bill

In Committee


Hon TAU HENARE (National) : Normally with these sorts of bills, because they are momentous in a number of ways, the Opposition is given an opportunity to sit down with the Minister, or the Associate Minister, and receive a briefing. We are still waiting for that briefing. Funnily enough, yesterday I happened to pass the Hon Michael Cullen, the Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, and I must say a pretty damn good one. But he said to me, on passing—and he looked very pale—“Oh, have we given you a briefing on the Te Roroa bill?”, and I happened to say “No, but it’s all right; we’ve come to expect that sort of treatment by the present Government.”

We see here an attempt to put right a wrong that happened not 100 years ago, not 50 years ago, but about 9 months ago, or around that time, when the Government could manage to cough up only $9 million, and it was just not enough. The people told the Government that it was not enough. The Māori Affairs Committee was told that it was not enough. There were issues to deal with, about not only the quantum but some of the valuations, and some of the returning of taonga had to be sorted out. So now we are back because of the prodding of the Opposition, and because of the sterling work of the select committee. I think that individual members of this House have been back and forward to the claimants, having a few words about the settlement, and finally the claimants have an opportunity.

National will support the bill, but not without a few kicks and a few punches here and there, because I think the treatment not only of Te Rōroa in this whole shambles but also of the Opposition party, which has had no briefing whatsoever, has been pretty terrible. In fact, many Opposition members had to ring the claimants, and the claimants’ lawyers, to find out what was going on. If that is the way this Government wants to run things, well, it is no wonder that the jug has boiled over and they will be out of there within a couple of months, because the country wants better from a Government, especially when it is dealing with a Treaty settlement.

This might not be the biggest Treaty settlement, but for the people up there it is the biggest thing since sliced bread. So those are the opening salvos, and I say “Let’s get on with it.”

CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (National) : Members should consider the history of this matter. The Waitangi Tribunal reported on this issue in 1992. Between 1992 and 2005 the tribe and the Crown were engaged in periodic negotiations. Then on 20 December 2004 the party signed an agreement in principle. In 2005, shortly before Christmas, Te Rōroa ratified the Crown’s initial settlement offer and entered into a deed of settlement. Then on 14 February 2007 the bill was introduced, and on 1 March 2007 we had the first reading and the referral to the Māori Affairs Committee.

In the 3 years I have been in this place I have never been more moved by submissions to a select committee than I was by the submissions made by the good people of Te Rōroa in Dargaville shortly before Easter last year. Several people were genuinely upset at the history of the matter and at the way the matter had played out, and the majority of the select committee were very concerned—I know my friend from New Zealand First certainly was, and we three in the National Party were.

When the bill was being dealt with in the Māori Affairs Committee, we were very concerned about durability. The Government did not talk to Opposition members—we heard nothing. As the Hon Tau Henare said this morning, we have continued to hear nothing. Any information about improvements to the settlement proposal has been obtained from the claimants. I think it is a tragic state of affairs when a senior Opposition MP is spoken to in such a dismissive way by the Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Dr Michael Cullen, as he wandered through the Beehive last night. It is simply unacceptable.

We in the Opposition regard these Treaty settlement bills as being of paramount importance. To quote the words of Isaiah, I say that we are “undoing the heavy burdens of the past.” To be treated in such a cavalier, smart alec fashion by the Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations is simply unacceptable. His performance over this legislation makes Mark Burton look competent.

Hon Georgina te Heuheu: Maybe that’s going to far.

CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: Well, they are tough words, but tough words need to be said about the legislative history of this bill.

We still await a formal briefing. It is unacceptable that we have been treated in this way, and, more important, it is unacceptable that Te Rōroa has been treated in this way. This matter has not been treated as an important historical Treaty settlement. It has been reduced to the level of commercial bartering so that the Government can push this legislation through. Will it be durable? Well, we will have to wait and see. But New Zealand deserves better than this kind of legislative shambles, and Te Rōroa deserves better.

We will have a good look at the bill as we go through the various clauses. As Mr Henare said, we know, having spoken to the tribal claimants, that by a majority the trust board has indicated that it wants the settlement to proceed. Therefore, we will support the legislation, but we are very unhappy at the way the iwi has been treated, and we are not impressed with the way we have been treated. We still do not know the detail other than what we have managed to glean from the various claimants. This is not the way Treaty settlements should be conducted. A higher standard is required, and the Minister should be disgusted with himself.

Hon GEORGINA TE HEUHEU (National) : I am very, very pleased the Te Roroa Claims Settlement Bill has now found its way to the top of the Order Paper and that we are here this morning to help progress it. My colleague Chris Finlayson talked about the tenure, the gestation, of this bill from 1992 till now. That is a long, long time for any iwi to be waiting for their settlement to be brought to a conclusion. As I say, I am very pleased for the iwi that we are here this morning. My colleagues are correct: I know that Tau spent quite a lot of time on the phone yesterday—as did Chris and I—chasing down claimants and lawyers to see whether there had indeed been an improvement on this bill. Obviously, if the bill has made its way to the top of the Order Paper, there must have been an improvement, but we do not know what it is. So that we on this side of the Chamber are not talking slightly in the dark, I wonder whether the Minister in the chair, the Hon Mita Ririnui, might take a call now and let us know about the improvements.

Clearly, National has indicated it will support the bill and we do that on the basis that claimants have indicated that they are happy with it—at least, they are willing to accept the improvements and see this bill progress. But, in my view, at the end of the day it is up to the Government and the Minister in charge of the Committee stage now to enlighten us and to officially, formally, tell us what those improvements are. As I say, I am waiting for the Minister to take a call. Hopefully it will be when I resume my seat.

We are debating the preamble to the bill, and in the couple of minutes that I have left I want to talk about the background to the claim, which, of course, is set out in the preamble. After all the political to-ing and fro-ing between the Government and ourselves, as there has been this sort of interregnum when nothing has happened for the last however many months—is it 7 months?

Chris Tremain: At least.

Hon GEORGINA TE HEUHEU: —well, since we were last in the Chamber debating this matter—we need to remind ourselves why we are here now.

These people, Te Rōroa, are an ancient people with a history that was clearly a proud history, until, of course, they came up against the settlers, the Government, not long after the Treaty was signed, when things started to turn to custard for them. So, yes, we can talk about the last 15-odd years but we must remember that the events that give rise to this claim originated way, way back, not too long after the Treaty was signed—indeed, their own people signed that Treaty. We must not forget, as I say, in the political shots that are fired between ourselves in this Parliament, that there is a sad history behind this claim, and it has been made even more tragic, in my view, by the delay that has been a feature of this settlement for the last 15 years, and, particularly, for the last 7 to 10 months when the Māori Affairs Committee clearly indicated that we were not happy with the settlement that had been offered to Te Rōroa. The committee members went to hear the submissions and it was so very, very clear that little of the hurt that these people have carried for all of these years had been atoned for.

I agree with my colleague Chris Finlayson that the hearing of the submissions was an eye-opener, really. One could feel the hurt the submitters were carrying, and the Government offered the settlement that it did—a settlement that, indeed, one would almost say that, rather than becoming the springboard for the development of Te Rōroa, it will likely become a bit of an albatross around their neck. As I say, National will support this bill but we would like to know the detail of the improvements.

Hon TARIANA TURIA (Co-Leader—Māori Party) : Tēnā koe, Madam Chairperson. Tēnā tātou katoa. When we come to the Te Roroa Claims Settlement Bill, we recognise the wider framework in which all Treaty settlements take place, and we say it is vital that we get that right. Inevitably, when we think of those who are putting forward claims—we recognise the statutory registration threshold, which is that claimants must be Māori and then cite the actions of the Crown that were prejudicial in relation to the Treaty of Waitangi—we think also of all those who have signed up to those claims, and their descendants.

In the case of Te Rōroa, I will never forget one particular submission to the Māori Affairs Committee that was put forward by Te Rōroa Manawhenua Trust and Te Rōroa Whatu Ora Trust. That submission suggested that Te Rōroa will not be in a strong financial position following settlement, but the trusts were prepared to concede that, following 14 years of difficult negotiations, the settlement reached was the best possible deal available in the circumstances—I repeat, in the circumstances.

Those circumstances were brought to the world’s attention last year by a damning report by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The United Nations committee was concerned about our Government’s routine ignoring of Waitangi Tribunal recommendations and noted that “such arrangements deprive claimants of a right to an effective remedy”. Those are circumstances that are tabled in the House on an ongoing basis—the views of the people that the Treaty settlements process is an exhausting, abusive process that grinds claimants into a position of defeated acceptance. But as Te Rōroa Manawhenua Trust and Te Rōroa Whatu Ora Trust reminded the select committee, this was the best possible deal available to Te Rōroa in the circumstances.

What made that submission stand out in my memory forever was a simple statement, followed by a list of names, a roll-call three and a half pages long. The trustees wished to note the people who have passed away during this period; that was the full extent of their submission. The sense of absolute defeat and emptiness is very palpable. Ka maumahara mātou ki a rātou—we will always remember them. What is even more poignant, of course, is that we know that list will be longer now. The cost to Te Rōroa, both at a financial level and in relation to the suffering and loss of its people, has been really high.

We are mindful that those costs extend outside the boundaries of its rohe. The select committee report noted the late introduction into the debate of concerns from the Hokianga Whanau, Hapu, Land and Resource Claims Collective. The collective’s view was that the Te Rōroa settlement would jeopardise its claims, and it sought an assurance from the select committee that such an injustice would not take place. The Office of Treaty Settlements confirmed that during negotiations it had consulted groups that have claims inside Te Rōroa’s area of interest, but that the work on claims in the surrounding areas was incomplete. Although the committee noted the situation was unsatisfactory, it stated that no amendment to the bill could improve it. So again an injustice continues.

What happened to Te Rōroa must not be relegated to history. The record of continued breaches by the Crown against Te Rōroa is a matter for public record, and we must all learn from that. The House must take responsibility for the Crown’s confiscation of the Te Kōpuru block and the destruction of Ngāti Whiu and Ngāti Kawa communities. The House must take responsibility for the unconscionable seizure of the multibillion-dollar flora and fauna of the Waipoua Forest. The House must take responsibility for the Crown’s theft of Te Rōroa wāhi tapu, its attempted destruction of the Waipoua community, its violation of taonga, and its persistent failure to listen to Te Rōroa’s grievances. Those are not matters that can rest easily on the nation’s conscience; neither should they.

Given the extent, seriousness, and continuation of the Crown’s breaches against Te Rōroa, the Māori Party has placed on record its immense dissatisfaction with the quantum that is under proposal. Our recommendation has been that the quantum must be increased sufficiently to allow Te Rōroa to purchase both Kaharau and Te Taraire and also to ensure the durability of the settlement. The Crown refused to include Kaharau and Te Taraire in the Treaty settlement or to find a way in which they could be included. I want us all to reflect on what such obstinacy does to the soul of a people.

Kaharau is a large area that includes burial caves—

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Marian Hobbs): Do you want to call again?


The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Marian Hobbs): That is all right.

Hon TARIANA TURIA: Madam Chairperson.

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Marian Hobbs): The Hon Tariana Turia.

Hon TARIANA TURIA: I have been here long enough to know I should have sought the call again. Te Taraire is an area of similar cultural significance to Kaharau, and both areas are located at Waimamaku. They are the sites of critical cultural redress, and the failure to see them as such compromises the settlement. Not only was nothing included in the quantum for the express purpose of buying back those areas but many in Te Rōroa found the suggestion that they be forced to buy back their own wāhi tapu, including kōiwi of their tūpuna and wakatūpāpaku, insulting, offensive, and degrading.

We have been particularly concerned about the negative impact that poor settlement processes have on the durability of any settlement, and about the deep rifts that have arisen because of the effect of flawed processes on overlapping claimants. The processes have often created enormous harm within tribal relationships that have existed for generations. In the case of Te Rōroa, we think back to the submissions of Patrick Paraone Welsh, of Sheena Ross for the Moetara whānau, of the Rev Daniel Ambler, who is a former tribal negotiator, and of Gary Hooker, Te Rōroa’s tribal historian and mandated negotiator. We think of the overwhelming sadness that they expressed in their submissions. It was their considered opinion that, given the strength of claimant objections to being forced into a full and final settlement, the Crown should abandon the use of that phrase.

Will Ngākuru told the select committee that for the members of Te Rōroa and the descendants of Ngākuru Pana, the settlement would never be full and final until the burial places at Kaharau and Te Taraire were returned, as was the wish of their tūpuna. Seven words in that submission said it all: “We agree to this Bill under duress.” “Duress” means to be coerced, to be forced into something beyond one’s will—is that really what we want our Treaty relationships to be? Another way forward was recommended by Professor David Williams, who suggested that rather than go down the path of unseemly haste, with the obsession of time frames and deadlines, all parties should engage in a longer conversation.

These settlements are truly what one could understand to be heartbreaking. I have been listening to National members and the speeches that they have made not only on this matter but on other settlements, and they may yet get their day. But the parameters for Treaty settlements were, in fact, set by National. So, should the opportunity present itself, let us see whether National can do any better than this Government has done. We in the Māori Party are always torn between our love for the people and our respect that their wishes be heard, and our absolute contempt for the way in which the policies and procedures used to negotiate settlements with hapū and iwi have been so flawed. Nā reira, tēnā koe, Madam Chairperson. Tēnā tātou.

PITA PARAONE (NZ First) : Ā, tēnā koe, Madam Chair, tēnā tātou o te Whare nei. Tēnā hoki koutou o te hau kāinga, arā, Te Roroa mēnā kei te mātakitaki mai, mēnā hoki e are taringa mai, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou. I acknowledge my relatives of Te Rōroa who may be watching, or who may even be listening to, the debate on this bill concerning their Treaty claim.

Once again I say that I have a vested interest, and I say that specifically for those who belong to a group called the One New Zealand Foundation. Since the introduction of this bill they have hounded me with a number of emails, suggesting that because of my vested interest I should not be participating in the debate on this bill. But I have declared that interest, and my participation in this debate will always be focused on the issue and not on my own personal interest. I say that to those principals of that organisation.

I also want to have it recorded in this Chamber that I take exception to members of that organisation making contact with my father—when he was alive—to question my whakapapa in relation to the claimants of this bill. As a consequence, I have now ceased to correspond with or even talk to the person to whom I always made myself available to discuss these issues. He knows who he is, but I am not going to give him the privilege of having his name recorded.

Having got that off my chest, I will speak to the preamble, which I think gives a very good historical background to this claim. It highlights the importance this iwi has put on their wāhi tapu. I think that it is the issues surrounding wāhi tapu that have given cause for some disquiet for those who have negotiated on behalf of Te Rōroa. The sites, particularly some that are outside the purview of the bill, have given some cause for further discussion between the representatives of Te Rōroa and, as I understand it, the Crown. The issue of quantum has certainly been a debating point for the people of Te Rōroa. The fact that some of these wāhi tapu are located on land that is outside the settlement quantum is what many of Te Rōroa are concerned about.

I should say that this bill has some historical significance not only for Te Rōroa but for the laws of this land. It was the report that emanated out of this claim that gave rise to legislation being introduced that excluded land in private ownership from any settlement quantum. For that, I think this bill will certainly have some significance in the history of the legislation of this House.

I also need to say that I found it a little bit disturbing that some of the original negotiators were at odds with their colleagues on the negotiation team. Given that point of difference, the bill has proceeded along its way. I am not going to question that, because I think it really is an issue for the people of Te Rōroa.

Hon MITA RIRINUI (Associate Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations) : I stand to take a very brief call in response to many of the comments that have been made by members from the National Party in relation to the level of consultation that they claimed they did not have from the Ministers in charge of this bill. I am mindful that we are actually on the preamble of Te Roroa Claims Settlement Billand I want to thank the New Zealand First member Pita Paraone for his contribution in terms of the accuracy of the preamble regarding the treatment of the Crown and its agencies toward the people of Te Rōroa over, shall we say, 160 years or so.

I am standing for the benefit of National Party members to apologise if, in any way at all, they found the communication between me and them to be insufficient. But I say to the Hon Tau Henare that he is aware and I am aware that the Māori Affairs Committee will be meeting at 1 o’clock today for 1 hour, and I will take that opportunity to give him a formal apology. I know he has some issue with the select committee sitting at that time, but I am sure that he will make himself available, as will his colleagues the Hon Georgina te Heuheu and Christopher Finlayson, and at that time we can have an in-depth discussion around that particular matter. Their points are made very clear, and I will respond to them formally at that time, be they on the agenda or not.

The matters around the issues that were raised by way of submissions and were discussed by the select committee in terms of the quantum and the adjustments that have been made to satisfy the claimant groups of representatives of Te Rōroa, I am sure we can discuss further along in the Committee stage of this bill when we get to the part where we actually talk about the quantum. I just wanted to clarify those points. Thank you.

Hon TAU HENARE (National) : I thank the Minister Mita Ririnui for his humble apology. I accept the apology now because I do not think I will be at the Māori Affairs Committee this afternoon. Because we are in urgency, one has to take what one gets when one can.

I put these questions to the Minister, though. The preamble to me means the beginning. It is the start of something. If we look at the preamble we see that 188 years are contained in 12 pages. That works out to about 16 years per page. If we look at the preamble, we see, right at the end of the 16 pages, that it does not give us an indication of what is new. There is a little chapter missing, if members understand my drift. So what is new? How much more? I know the Minister will address the quantum later on. Where are the changes? What about the valuations? This is the problem with not being given a briefing—we do not know what we are supporting or opposing.

I think we have a very unfortunate situation. Like I said, 12 pages cover practically 188 years of tribal history in a nutshell—little paragraphs here, there, and everywhere that I think should actually be put in a leather-bound book and be put in the archives for ever and a day. The preamble to a settlement bill is, I think, one of the most important parts. It does not matter what the quantum is and it does not matter who did what to whom. The preamble tells a story in a way that will enable people in subsequent generations to get a snapshot of what Te Rōroa is.

I want to digress a wee bit and offer my support to my whanaunga Pita Paraone after the abuse he has taken from the One New Zealand Foundation. I say to him: “Any time you want some back-up, matua, you know where we are.”

It is really important when we are doing these things to get off on the right foot, so I ask the Minister to take another call and finish the preamble as it should be finished. He should tell us what is new, why we are here, how much more there will be, and where the changes are. He should also tell us about the valuations. He should do this only if he wants to—I will not die in a ditch over it.

I make one final point, and that is regarding the comments from the co-leader of the Māori Party about National. I suppose my comments are that we should not forget where we all started. By that I mean that I was a member of New Zealand First—and a very proud member of New Zealand First—back in the day.

Pita Paraone: Then you got lost.

Hon TAU HENARE: I may have got lost, but I am found again—as I think the song “Amazing Grace” goes. But I say that members should not forget that Tariana Turia was also a Cabinet Minister in this Labour Government. Kia ora.

Hon GEORGINA TE HEUHEU (National) : I will take another brief call to again mention the preamble. My colleague is right: the preamble is a very important part of the Te Roroa Claims Settlement Bill. Te Rōroa have the advantage of a very comprehensive Waitangi Tribunal report, and much of what was traversed and found in that report now finds its way into the preamble in the bill before us.

It would be great to read out some of this narrative in full for the benefit of those who are not in this place and who do not readily have access to the background to these settlements. I mentioned in my earlier contribution that Te Rōroa are an ancient people with a proud, proud history—a history that quite soon after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi started to become blighted by their interactions with the settling Government of the day, the Māori Land Court, and the legislation from those days, which has a lot to answer for in terms of breaches of the Treaty that have been found.

Te Rōroa, once a proud community of various lands in the north, came to find themselves virtually alienated, disjointed, and lost—lost from their whenua. That loss—as I also referred to earlier—still shows itself today in the way the people recount their history and share their aspirations for what they want to do into the future, and it was so obvious to the Māori Affairs Committee when it went north to hear them.

Although the claim that immediately gives rise to this settlement in the bill before us is more recent, Te Rōroa actually began petitioning the Crown from the late 1870s over the Crown’s failure to provide appropriate reserves once the Crown had made up its mind to go in and by various means deprive Te Rōroa of their landholdings. As I say, there is a long history here. Further petitions were made into the early 20th century—in 1907, and so on—and between 1908 and 1912 approaches were again made to Parliament. This, like many claims, has a long history of petitions, other claims, court cases, and approaches to various Parliaments over a long, long period of time. That is why it is so important that New Zealand continues on its way to settling these longstanding injustices. I am sure it has been quite hurtful, in a way, for Te Rōroa over the last 12 months to witness the sudden burst of energy that has come into the process, driven by Dr Cullen, and to see other tribes move forward—move ahead, even—with the settlement of their claims, with Te Rōroa still languishing on the sidelines.

So, yes, the Minister in the chair, the Hon Mita Ririnui, might like to be all tidy, and wait for us to move to the next part, but we are on the preamble and we are, in a sense, talking in the dark. The Minister did not brief us on the improvements to the Te Roroa Claims Settlement Bill. If the Minister had, we would not have been on the phone yesterday, chasing around the country. One of the claimant negotiators had been out of New Zealand for a month. Fortunately, I managed to get him. He had just hopped off the plane from the United States, and we were able to get some details. So, I say to the Minister in the chair, he should tell us now.

CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (National) : I endorse everything my friend Mrs te Heuheu said, and I believe we could move very quickly through the Committee stage and third reading of Te Roroa Claims Settlement Bill if we had some answers. But I will make a few preliminary points. First, I join Mr Henare in what he said about Mr Paraone. We have been receiving volcanic emails from the One New Zealand Foundation. That is not helpful, and I think that what the foundation did to him was totally unacceptable. It is a source of some regret that there are people in this country who do that sort of thing.

The second point I will make is that the Associate Minister generously indicated that he would be prepared to apologise for the insufficiency of consultation. Well, as Mrs te Heuheu said, where is the insufficiency? There was no consultation.

The third point is that we want to move on from a culture of complaint. If I set out the detail of what I understand to be the position, and the Minister in the chair, the Hon Mita Ririnui, could condescend to confirm some of it, we will be able to move through the Committee stage very quickly. As I understand it, in about June this year, the Minister in the chair and the Hon Shane Jones had a visit to Dargaville, and a further Crown offer in settlement of the claim was made. I further understand the proposal is that the offer be implemented outside the Treaty claims settlement process. That is the first point, and I ask the Minister in the chair whether that is correct.

The second issue, dealing with the consequences of the Minister’s visit to Dargaville, involves the increase in quantum. The settlement provided for about $9.5 million. Our understanding, as a result of discussions with various claimants, is that it has increased to around $15.5 million, to enable the purchase of certain farms. I ask the Minister whether he can confirm that, and confirm what the farms are.

The next element is that the Crown indicated it would purchase and vest in the iwi the portion of the Kaharau wāhi tapu of about 1,400 to 1,500 acres of land known as “Bob’s”, and we would like to know whether the property has been purchased.

The final element is that there would be a continued discussion between the parties regarding the Te Rōroa taonga, the burial chests that are held by the Auckland Museum. If we are dealing with those elements it is good, because it does deal with certain key issues that the Māori Affairs Committee was very concerned about, but I would really like to know, before we move into the other parts of the bill, just what exactly the components of the settlement are.

I say to the Government, it should not worry about an apology, or about a mea culpa. Let us move on from there. Let us look at the substance of the amended offer so that we can get through the Committee stage, get through the third reading, and ensure this bill is signed into law as quickly as possible.

Hon MITA RIRINUI (Associate Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations) : I take the member’s point, and I think that in the interests of moving on and getting a closure motion on this particular part of the Te Roroa Claims Settlement Bill, in respect of the preamble, it probably is important to highlight some of the changes that have been made. I think it is also important to say first that these improvements, as we might classify them, did not require an amendment to the settlement legislation.

As the member pointed out, he was of the view that an ex gratia payment had been made in respect of the deferred properties that Te Rōroa had expressed an interest in. As the member knows, and as members of this Parliament are aware, a number of issues were highlighted by Te Rōroa throughout the negotiations and the select committee process, and we discussed these in some depth in our deliberations. The issues related to certain wāhi tapu, as they were classified, and there was a desire by Te Rōroa to have their history in relation to those properties acknowledged in a more tangible way—and I mean by that to have those properties, wherever possible, returned to them. Steps have been made, through my colleague the Minister of Māori Affairs, to allow that to happen. And, yes, there is an ex gratia payment of about $6 million to allow Te Rōroa to purchase a particular property that is identified in the deferred properties schedule.

I reiterate that these improvements do not require an amendment to the legislation. I think that if we had had to go down that track, we would have set the settlement negotiations back by some time. Through the foresight of Ministers, and in particular the current Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, the Hon Dr Michael Cullen, better ways of doing things were discussed and resolved. To that end I take the member’s point that it is important to highlight this, for the benefit of the Committee and in the interests of time, but I am glad that he does not want an apology because I do not do that very well. Thank you.

  • Preamble agreed to.

Part 1 Purpose of Act, acknowledgements and apology, interpretation provisions, settlement of claims, and miscellaneous matters

Hon GEORGINA TE HEUHEU (National) : I thank the Minister in the chair, the Hon Mita Ririnui. Obviously we had the information, but it is good to get confirmation from him. It is also good that the decision was made to make improvements to this settlement in a way that did not delay the settlement through having to have a change in the legislation. We find that a great improvement from where we found ourselves some months ago, having to write a minority report on this settlement. We are very pleased that on the advice and affirmation of the claimants, and now the official indication from the Minister, we are able to say without any demur that we support the settlement.

My colleague made a comment about the apology. Of course, the apology is hugely important to Te Rōroa. We have now seen these apologies in the House over a number of years. The apology here follows the apology that has been part of previous settlements. The few words in clause 8 state: “The Crown profoundly regrets its breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles as detailed above and seeks to atone for those breaches.” I have always been fascinated by the way in which those few words mean so much to claimants. For me they have always underpinned the burden of injustice that claimants have carried for nearly 160 years—the burden of loss, not only in physical terms but also in human terms. While all of this has dragged on over generations and into the current generation, our old people have passed on without seeing any redress or any indication from the Crown, represented by whatever Government of the day, that wrongs were done and wrongs needed to be atoned for. So the apology in its preciseness is important to claimants.

The apology is also important to us, because it indicates that in a sense the Crown is endeavouring to restore some of its own honour. Of course, by the actions of the Crown and of successive Governments from the 1840s onwards, the Crown has not only been in breach but has also been without honour. It has been in a place without honour, and that is not a good place to be. All of us here now in this Parliament, in our collective passing of laws, represent the Crown on behalf of New Zealand. So to be without honour in the way we have behaved and acted towards a group, a tribe—whānau, hapū, iwi—or any New Zealander, for that matter, and in this respect in relation to the particular settlement of Te Rōroa, is not a good thing. So the apology is important to them, but it is also important for us as representatives of the Crown in this House that the apology is made, that it is acknowledged, and that it is meant. Then we can put behind us a part of our history that none of us here today were responsible for. No New Zealander today was responsible for the hurt, but all New Zealanders want to feel that if the honour on their behalf has been lost or crushed, then that honour is restored. Today we move on behalf of the Crown to have our own honour restored, and to help to restore the honour of Te Rōroa, as well. That is very, very important.

CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (National) : I will just take a call to talk very, very briefly about the Supplementary Order Paper that seeks to amend a couple of clauses. We totally agree with it. Clause 14, of course, has to be amended in that way because there is a new way of recording settlements in the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975, and we have no problem with that. We also have no problem with the amendment that inserts new clauses 82A, 82B, and 82C after clause 82. It simply inserts additional clauses relating to the alteration of place names, and the clauses follow the model of the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapu Claims Settlement Bill. So that is all good, technical, and sensible.

I just have two questions for the Minister in the chair, the Hon Mita Ririnui, and I would be most grateful if he would answer them. Then I think we could just move through the remaining time in the Committee stage very quickly. The first issue relates to the deferred selection properties. Can the Minister give the Committee an indication of the date at which the properties are to be valued? Will it be December 2005, or some other date? I have a concern about that issue, because of the delay in dealing with this matter and the possible increase in land values that has happened over the last couple of years. So if the Minister could deal with that, it would solve a bit of a problem I have.

In relation to the second issue, I am grateful to the Minister for his confirmation to me of the way in which the settlement is to be implemented, but I ask whether he could perhaps explain to the Committee what the impacts are on the Tainui and Ngāi Tahu ratchet clauses, where the Crown provides settlement redress outside the Treaty settlement process. Is it accounted for in triggering those ratchet clauses? I am not quite sure about that. So if the Minister could provide some answers to those questions—very simple questions—I am sure we could move on very quickly and get through the Committee stage. We must get this legislation signed into law.

PITA PARAONE (NZ First) : Tēnā koe, Madam Chairperson. I think it would be very remiss of any member of New Zealand First currently in the Chamber not to speak to this part of the bill, and in particular to the clause where references are made to the Treaty of Waitangi and, more important—as quoted in the bill—to its principles. I do not need to reiterate what our concern is, but in terms of reading the actual clause itself one can easily suggest that it is implied that previous clauses actually outline the principles. I do not believe that that is the case; I certainly went through the previous clauses, and they do not outline the principles. I will quote from clause 8: “The Crown profoundly regrets its breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles as detailed above and seeks to atone for those breaches.” Again, I take the opportunity of inviting the Minister in the chair to articulate what those principles are. However, having said that, we know that we are required to make some reference to them, because they are actually included in the apology.

Hon Georgina te Heuheu: Well, there’s no bill if you don’t do it.

PITA PARAONE: Well, that is the argument, but it is not beyond the ability of this Parliament to rectify that concern, anyway. That member perhaps perceives herself as becoming the new Minister—I do not know; I will not go down that line. My apologies, Madam Chairperson, for digressing, but I just wanted to point that out, and to be consistent with the contributions that New Zealand First makes in regard to these bills.

I also agree with the previous speaker; we do not have any concern about the Supplementary Order Paper and the suggested amendments submitted by the Minister. In fact, we believe that the amendments actually give clarity to clause 82. I will also take the opportunity to make reference to the definitions in clause 11, “Meaning of Te Roroa”. As it reads, “(1) Te Roroa—(a) means the collective group composed of—(i) individuals descended from 1 or more Te Roroa tupuna; and (ii) individuals who are members of the groups referred to in paragraph (c)(i);”, which are “Te Roroa, Ngati Kawa, Ngati Whiu, and Te Kuihi;”.

I refer to this clause, and do so because of the allegations made by One New Zealand about my right to participate in this debate. One of the original claimants on behalf of Te Roroa is a first cousin to my father; his mother and my grandmother are two sisters. So in view of the Māori perception of genealogy and relationships, that provision makes me a link by whakapapa to Te Roroa, but I am not a beneficiary in terms of this definition of who Te Roroa claimants are. I just want to clarify that point. Suffice it to say, New Zealand First has no difficulties in terms of Part 1 of the bill.

Hon TAU HENARE (National) : Can members remember going to the dentist when they were kids? You know, they had those horrible dental nurses in schools—

Hon Members: Oh!

Hon TAU HENARE: Well, not dental nurses but dental clinics—sorry. And we used to have the feeling that we could either do things the easy way or the hard way. Well, we can do this bill the easy way, or do it the hard way.

There was a question by my colleague Chris Finlayson about how the ex gratia payment of $6 million impacts on the ratchet clauses in the Ngāi Tahu and Tainui settlements. I am sure the brother-in-law has the calculator out right at this moment. But it is an interesting question that I think the Minister in the chair, the Hon Mita Ririnui, might want to explore, if he wants to go down the easy track. He might wish to focus his mind on that issue, as we move on this settlement—and I congratulate the Government on moving at pace on other settlements and agreements in principle, and signing deeds of settlement, in the rush before the election. But the question remains of how, now that the quantum has increased, that has affected the total, dare I say, fiscal envelope or multi-year appropriations, and how it affects the ratchet clauses in the Ngāi Tahu and Tainui settlements.

So that is the easy way. The hard way is that we draw this process out a wee bit. And I would not want to do that. I am not known in this House to be a filibuster—

Hon Clayton Cosgrove: Spell it!

Hon TAU HENARE: P-h … That is a serious question, and I hope the Minister can give us a steer. I am not expecting him to give us a policy statement on the quantum or on the Ngāi Tahu and Tainui ratchet clauses, but I ask him whether there has been any thought on how it impacts on any other settlements and on the ratchet clauses in both those two settlements.

Hon GEORGINA TE HEUHEU (National) : I want to take a call just to make some comments on the observations that were made by our colleague across the Chamber, Pita Paraone, who, of course, and rightly so, always feels compelled to raise the issue of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, and I, in turn, always feel compelled to make some comment on his raising that issue. Of course, these claims are brought under the mandate or brief of the Waitangi Tribunal, which has to look at a claim to see whether it breaches the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. That notion or measurement is to be found in the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975. As I say, it is the measure by which the tribunal must measure all the claims. So of course when we come to settle a claim, there has to be some acknowledgment in there that that claim has been well founded, in that there has been found to be a breach of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. Aroha mai, I feel sometimes for New Zealand First and for our associates across the way, who still seem to be in the dark after all these years as to what the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi are.

Pita Paraone: Tell us! Tell us what they are.

Hon GEORGINA TE HEUHEU: First of all, there is the principle of good faith—the duty upon the Crown to negotiate with claimants in a spirit of partnership and good faith. Secondly, there is the principle of protection. I can go through these, but, really, I would have thought that after that party has been in Parliament this long, supporting settlements, as it does—unlike ACT, which used to, and probably still does, oppose everything to do with Treaty settlements—

Hon Clayton Cosgrove: Rodney’s got the tan now. Rodney’s got the spray-on tan.

Hon GEORGINA TE HEUHEU: That might make a difference as to whether ACT supports a Treaty settlement. It probably will.

Hon Clayton Cosgrove: It’s a bad spray-on tan.

Hon GEORGINA TE HEUHEU: Bad or not, we wait with anticipation to see whether ACT will support this Treaty settlement.

But coming back to New Zealand First, I say that I would have thought, for a party that considers itself, despite its numbers, a big party, equal to National and Labour, that after all this time someone there might have taken the time to comb through the Court of Appeal and Waitangi Tribunal decisions, because the principles are to be found in the judgments and the reports of both those organisations. As I say, I have talked about the principle of the Crown acting in good faith and in the spirit of partnership towards claimants. That is an underlying one. This settlement is meant to embody those principles, and that is why, earlier, I talked about the apology. That is why it is important that reference to the principles is here, so that we all know, and New Zealanders know, that, yes, this claim has been properly investigated, and, yes, a breach of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi has been found. That phrase was integrated into legislation back in 1975 by that member’s relative, probably, the Hon Matiu Rata—

Pita Paraone: Yes.

Hon GEORGINA TE HEUHEU: —yes—who came up with that phrase, because, as we know, the Treaty is in English and in Māori, and if we were to say “the Treaty”, people would ask which Treaty. So using the phrase “principles of the Treaty” enables the tribunal to look at both versions and distil from both versions what the underlying principles, thoughts, and thinking of the signatories to the Treaty were at the time. So aroha mai to our colleague in New Zealand First. He should not worry; the principles are there. They are talked about constantly, particularly in the Waitangi Tribunal reports, because they have to be. The Waitangi Tribunal has to set out how it has found a claim to be well founded because it is in breach of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. So those principles are easily gleaned, if the member were to take the time, along with his party, to find them.

  • The question was put that the amendment set out on Supplementary Order Paper 236 in the name of the Hon Dr Michael Cullen to omit clause 14 and substitute new clause 14 be agreed to.
  • Amendment agreed to.
  • Part 1 as amended agreed to.

Part 2 Cultural Redress

  • The question was put that the amendments set out on Supplementary Order Paper 236 in the name of the Hon Dr Michael Cullen to Part 2 be agreed to.
  • Amendments agreed to.
  • Part 2 as amended agreed to.

Part 3 agreed to.

Schedule 1 agreed to.

Schedule 2 agreed to.

Schedule 3 agreed to.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 agreed to.

  • Bill reported with amendment.
  • Report adopted.